Meriden Congregational Church Newsletter APRIL 2021

We are a Spiritually Progressive,
Open & Affirming, Sanctuary Congregation 
dedicated to 
Transforming Lives
as a Compassionate Community,
extravagantly welcoming EVERYONE,
celebrating diversity, cultivating awe & wonder,
and seeking Peace with Justice for all Creation!

Join us for our Intergenerational
Faith Community Celebrations
Each Sunday at 10:00 AM
VIA ZOOM ONLIINE

Watch for weekly e-mail notices,
and/or contact
john@meridenucc.org or
susan@meridenucc.org
for the Zoom Links and/or phone numbers
Here it is! Volume 4 Issue 1 of our e-mail newsletter
FEATURED IN THIS NEWSLETTER
 
Pastoral Ponderings

Worship & Music Ministry News
  • Our Sunday Faith Community Celebrations in April
  • Easter Greetings from Music and Ministry
  • Maundy Thursday Agape Feast
  • Good Friday Prayer Service
  • Easter Sunrise and Virtual Celebrations
  •  Tenderly Held in our Hearts and Prayers
  •  Into God’s Hands

April Calendar of Events in the Life of our Spiritual Family
  • Birthday Celebration for MCC May 2nd

MCC Administration & Finance News
  • Clean-up Jubilee April 24th
  • The Ins and Outs of our Zoom Services
  • Letter on 2021 Budget
  • Budget Figures
  • Report of the Assistant Treasurers
  • COVID-19 Task Force Notice

Welcoming and Caring Ministry
  •  April Birthdays & Anniversaries
  • Equal Exchange Coffee

Growing a Just World for All
  • One Great Hour of Sharing Water Challenge
  • Amnesty International Cards
  • Just Peace Resolution between Israel and Palestine

Peace & Justice Ministry Coordinators Report
  • Racial Justice Ministry News
  • "White Nationalism & Contemporary Racism" Webinar
  • "Breaking the Silence" Sermon by Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Racial Justice Book Study "How to be an Anti-Racist"
  • "Raising White Kids" Book Study Group Follow-up
  • Black Lives Matter Vigil
  • Worker Justice News
  • "Civil Rights and Worker Rights are Interconnected"
  • Guide to Participating in Legislative Session
  • Legislator Contact Information
  • Climate Justice News
  • Immigrant Solidarity Actions
  • Immigration Pathways
  • Communities NOT Cages
  • Free Them All!
  • Poor Peoples Campaign


Revs. John and Susan Gregory-Davis,
Co-Pastors
Meriden Congregational Church
603-469-3235
john@meridenucc.org
susan@meridenucc.org
 PASTORAL PONDERINGS

“Love is stronger than hate.
Love is greater than fear.
Love can change death to life. 
Love rises”
-The Many
 
       What a challenging year this has been, as we prepare to celebrate our second Easter still “entombed” by the need to keep our distance from each other physically! There is good news on the horizon suggesting that the worst of the pandemic may finally be receding, even as we are still cautioned to keep our masks on and our distance not yet too close. Unlike last Easter, many of us will arise before dawn to share the Easter sunrise together, perhaps enjoying at least some physical proximity for the first time in over a year, truly a sort of resurrection for which we have been yearning for so long.  Yet the better part of wisdom will have us still only finding each other out there in cyberspace for our virtual Easter Communion Celebration later that morning.  

           But as disheartening as the longevity of our physical distancing caused by this pandemic has been, not to mention the tremendous death left in its wake, the even more pernicious challenge to our resurrection faith this Easter is the extent to which what Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh calls “the illusion of our separateness” has widened the social distance keeping us divided, distant from, wary of, and cruel to each other as well! The prevalence of racial hierarchy and injustice endemic to the white supremacy at the heart of our nation, continue to crucify our common life with dis-ease, anger, hatred, and even death. And of course the BIPoC among us realize all too well, there is nothing new about this death-dealing oppression. 

         This is what empires do to maintain their power, and to crush resistance to their myopic obsession with domination and control. This is what happened to the brown skinned Jewish refugee laborer from Palestine who dared to challenge Rome’s love of power with nothing stronger than the power of love. It did not take the empire long to realize that the insubordination of the Jesus movement needed be stopped dead, not only with lynching its leader on a cross for all to see, but even better with convincing many of his would-be followers that they would be better served by the status quo of their oppression than by the illusion of the liberation they glimpsed in him ministry. And that should have been the end of yet another foiled uprising against the artificial walls so effectively keeping people from discerning their inherent worth and the collective liberation that could arise from their revolutionary love with and for each other. 

         But it wasn’t then, nor has it ever been, nor will it be today. For as Kurt Struckmeyer says so well, “Easter means that in the face of defeat, we will arise and stand once more. In the face of overwhelming odds, we will rise yet again. In the face of deepest despair, we will continue to rise. For Love always rises, and will never die. Love rises through our protests against oppression, suffering, and injustice. Love rises through us and in us” whenever we refuse to accept the NO of division and subordination, and instead insist upon the YES of inclusion, interconnection, and Beloved Community. 

         Easter Sunday is an especially auspicious day this year, for not only does it coincide with the conclusion of the Jewish Passover celebration of liberation and divine rebellion against poverty and injustice, but it also marks the 53rd anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., while supporting sanitation workers in their insistence that their lives mattered, that their labor had dignity, and that they deserved respect, fair wages, and safe working conditions.  Elsewhere in this Newsletter are invitations both to learn more about this continuing struggle today, and how it is playing out detrimentally here in NH, as well as to hear and reflect upon one of King’s most consequential speeches titled, “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence.” 

           Delivered at Riverside Church in New York exactly one year before he was murdered, this speech was the first time King publicly called for an end to the U.S. war in Vietnam and for unity and action to end the triple threats of militarism, racism, and extreme materialism. After quoting Arnold Toynbee’s assertion that “love is the ultimate force that makes for the saving choice of life and good… that love is going to have the last word,” King concluded his courageous affirmation that another world is possible with this still prescient Easter challenge, “Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter, but beautiful, struggle for a new world.” Let us indeed, for Love Rises!
 
Wishing us all Easter blessings
In our shared quest to rise in Revolutionary Love together,
Your Virtually loving Co-Pastors,
John & Susan
   
 

John and Susan on Zoom


OUR SUNDAY FAITH
COMMUNITY CELEBRATIONS IN APRIL
(All on Zoom, as noted above)

April 4th @ 6:15 AM & 10:00 AM
EASTER SUNDAY JOY!!
Our Celebration of Resurrection JOY begins at 6:15 AM with the return of our much beloved outdoor Sunrise Service! Then, we will gather again virtually this year, for our intergenerational sharing of the Easter Story of God's never-ending Love for every one of us, featuring recordings of two glorious anthems by members of our virtual choir, sharing Easter Communion "together, separately," and concluding with Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus," sadly not sung live by all of us, but still soaring in its exultation of Easter JOY!  Please do plan to join us, and invite your friends, family, and neighbors too!!

APRIL 11th @ 10:00 AM
Ho HO Holy Humor
Funday Service!
Join us as we reprise this ancient tradition of enjoying the Sunday after Easter as "Bright," or  “No Gloom in the Tomb” Sunday, thereby joyously affirming our Easter faith in God’s resurrection laughter transforming even death itself into God’s endlessly lilting Love & Life.

APRIL 18th @ 10:00 AM
Third Sunday of Eastertide
Earth Day Sunday
  Join us for this Inter-generational Service as we celebrate Earth Day, recommitting ourselves to taking essential care of our generous yet fragile earth.   Now one year since endorsing the "Green New Deal," how are we living into this ambitious vision for our world? 

April 25th @ 10:00  AM
Fourth Sunday of Easter
Good Shepherd Sunday
 Join us for this opportunity to pray, sing, and reflect upon what it means to be held in and to embody the love of our Good Shepherd God, with and for ALL the sheep of God's pasture!

MAY 2nd @ 10:00 AM
Fifth Sunday of Easter
Founders' Day Sunday!
Join us for a virtual celebration of the 241st Birthday of the Meriden Congregational Church! Our Intergenerational Communion Service will be festooned by balloons and a Birthday Cake, and will feature highlights of our life and ministry together.
Kalin's Dog Mija "standing" for the "Hallelujah Chorus" last Easter:)
Whoever you are,
Whomever you love,
Wherever you are on
life's journey,

YOU are WELCOME to
share in all our
Spiritual Family Services, Celebrations,
and Activities!
Happy Easter from your Meriden Congregational church family! As the new life of spring blooms all around us, we are beginning to glimpse the day when we we finally be able to re-gather in person--yeah!! But for now, we are continuing youth programming opportunities that allow us all to stay safe and healthy. Our middle school students are reading and reflecting upon the insights and challenges of he book, Stamped, by Ibram X. Kendi. And of course we are continuing our weekly Zoom Children’s Messages during our church services. The Spiritual Formation Ministry Team and I are excited to share more safe and engaging programming this spring! Please stay tuned for more information coming soon! 

As a mom and Language Arts teacher, I love children’s books. As my child becomes older, I have been discovering some new and progressive books that help children understand skills and concepts essential to healthy spiritual development, such as empathy, confidence, and anti-racism. If you have some little readers at home that are seeking a chance to connect with others while in the safety of your home, I’d love to invite your young elementary aged children (Kindergarten through fourth grade) to join me for our weekly Zoom story time. I will read aloud and we will discuss it after, reflecting on the story and making connections to our own lives. Stay tuned for more information as to which stories we will be reading and when.
  
I hope your children can join me! I miss seeing you all in person and am hoping for a healthy Spring!

Be well,

Kelsey MacNamee
Spiritual Formation Coordinator
Meriden Congregational Church
(603) 504-4257
Easter is Here!

I just came in from raking and all the signs of Spring are here. I can hear doves cooing, I can see my tulips and daffodils peeking up, we have seen many new birds--a flock of geese coming up the Connecticut River and four Robins in our field. It is time for Easter--the time when we celebrate Jesus' Resurrection. A time for mourning and a time to celebrate his life and what he did as a human while on this earth.

Easter has always been celebrated here at MCC in a very elaborate way and it will be this year again, just in a different way. A zoom way and I promise that the music will be fantastic. Michael Hogan has chosen very beautiful music. He will do his magical recording of it and zoom it into the service.

John and Susan Gregory-Davis and Michael Hogan together have resurrected Meriden Congregational Church from the tomb of the COVID Pandemic. By unifying the team of leaders and parishioners we will have the celebrations on Easter starting with the Sunrise Service in person at 6:15 am and continuing with the 10:00 AM Easter Extravaganza by Zoom. Hope you can join us!

Robyn Carpenter for Music and Ministry
Though still physically
distant from each other,
we are spiritually united as
God’s Beloved Community!
 
A Feast of LoveApril 1st, 2021
Please join us on zoom at 6:00 PM
 
Although the end of the pandemic seems much closer this year than last, since it still does not feel safe to gather in person again this Easter, we are reprising for Maundy Thursday—April 1st, beginning at 6:00 PM, the  simple Agape Meal (Love Feast) we shared for the first time last year.

 
  Once again this year, what Christians call Holy Week corresponds with the week of Passover, as it did when our Jewish brother, Jesus, shared a Passover Celebration with his friends and followers. So although we shall not do anything as elaborate as our traditional Passover Seder this year, we hope many will join us for our virtual remembrance of that Last Supper which was all about the Love living through the stories of our lives within God’s heart.  
 
By way of helping all of us prepare to share this sacred time together, we suggest if possible ahead of time having ready a basin and pitcher of warm water, soap, and towel (for ritual hand-washing), along with a table set with dishes, food, perhaps a Bible, cross, icon, or anything representing sacred presence for you, one or more candles to light, pictures of those not able to be present with you, and some sort of bread and beverage.  
 
We will send out the connection information, as well as possibly a bulletin for the service, no later than 5:30 Thursday evening, by way of ensuring that we all may be as fully present as possible.  Please note that during Holy Week, this Maundy Thursday gathering is in lieu of our usual Wednesday evening Lenten Prayer gatherings.

GOOD FRIDAYApril 2nd, 2021
Please join us on zoom at 7:00 PM
           
Especially since we cannot yet return to our traditional Good Friday pilgrimage to the Weston Priory, we shall offer a simple virtual prayer service for the evening of Good Friday—April 2nd, 2021, beginning at 7:00 PM.  
 
We well understand that the despair and anxiety so prevalent all around and deep within us as we journey through this pandemic wilderness may well incline many of us to shy away from the pathos of the Good Friday story, but perhaps this is all the more reason for us to remind ourselves that we are never forsaken nor alone, no matter how troubled our lives may be. 
 
So please do consider joining us on Good Friday as we gather in sacred cyberspace  to help prepare our hearts and spirits more fully for the resurrection proclamation that Life, not Death, was and always shall be God's Good News for all of us, and to remember the words of the Psalmist that "weeping may linger for the night, but JOY comes in the morning!"
 
We will send out connection information, as well as possibly a bulletin for the service, no later than 6:30 Friday evening, by way of ensuring that we all may be as fully present as possible.  

EASTER SUNDAY
April 4th, 2021
 
Easter Sunrise Service--6:15 AM

Come join us as we greet Easter’s joyful dawn! Although we will not share our traditional Easter Communion bread together, wearing masks and keeping our distance should make it safe to reprise our annual Sunrise Celebration this year.   We’ll meet at the Parish House to assess where best to hold our outdoor service, depending upon the weather that morning.
Virtual Easter Celebration –10:00 AM
With the exception of our outdoor Sunrise service, it looks like our festive Easter morning celebration will need to be shared “together, separately” again this year. So we very much look forward to reprising our virtually glorious celebration of Resurrection Joy on Easter Sunday morning at 10:00 AM!

Please do plan to join us for an intergenerational sharing of the Easter Story of God's never-ending Love for every one of us, for young and not-so-young alike, featuring recordings of two glorious anthems by members of our virtual choir, and concluding with Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus," sadly not sung live by all of us, but still soaring in its exultation of Easter JOY! This year once again, what we most eagerly anticipate on Easter morning is the blessing offered by the loving (virtual) presence of each and all of us! 

Tenderly Held in our Hearts and Prayers
           
        Throughout this Eastertidewe give joyous thanks for the caring and sharing which make this community of faith such a welcome home for all of us. We fervently pray for all those affected in any way by the Covid 19 pandemic, especially all front line teachers, health care deliverers, and other “essential workers.” So too do we celebrate with those bearing new life, and we pray with those yet trying to conceive or seeking to adopt, even as we also pray for our friends in Bolivia, Mexico, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Zambia, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia, and Zimbabwe, and all those living in such troubled lands as Israel, Palestine, Afghanistan, Syria, Pakistan, North Korea, Hong Kong, Yemen, Nigeria, Burma, South Sudan, the Congo, Iraq, & IranWe pray for all immigrants & refugees seeking sanctuary & welcome throughout our world, that we may be among those who offer an oasis of hospitality & compassion within the kin-dom of God’s heart. And we pray too for our BIPoC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) friends and neighbors, seeking to build with them a world wherein Black Lives Matter!”

So too do we pray for these members and friends of our faith community currently receiving treatment for cancer: Laura Cousineau’s brother, Eric; Linda Perkins’ friend, Linda Stone; Shideko Terai’s friends, Melanie & Paul; Suzanne Lenz' brother, Bob; Laine Gillespie’s friend Kyle’s husband, Rodney Beebe; Michelle Chamley; Bailey Sibert; Ed Foltyn; Sue Turner’s cousin Jesse’s husband, Ron Letterchio; Caren Saunders’ mother, Betty Homeyer; Selden Lord’s brother-in-law, Edward; Jan Lord’s former daughter-in-law, Michelle; Jo Evarts, as well as Jo’s sister, Jingles; Robert Bryant; Cynthia Howe; Jeff McNamara; Lauryn Moeller’s daughter-in-law, Lisa Rae Moeller; and Kevin Ramos-Glew’s nephew, Duncan.

Likewise do we pray for Kathy Wright’s sister, Carolyn Youtz; Ed Cousineau; Jim Griffiths; Cindy LaFlam; Jan Lord’s son, Brian; Christine Heins’ sister, Rosalyn Braeunig; Terry Henry; Jody Schubert’s brother, Rick: Vicki Ramo-Glew’s step-sister, Ellen Moore; and her daughter; Laine Gillespie’s cousin, Mary, as well as Laine’s cousin, Becky, and Laine’s friend, Perry Allison;  Jeannie Hines’ father, Joe McClellan; Rich Pullen; Joan Burch; Clare Louzier; Selden Lord’s sister, Sharon Hammond; Suzanne Lenz; Jo Ellen Courtney’s friend, Maureen Knight; Penny Arcone’s niece, Cathy, as well as Penny’s friend Dick Sluben’s sister, Maureen MacKenzie; Gail Kinney’s friend, Josh Lloyd; Glenn & Cindy Griffin’s niece, Gracie Svensen; Arthur & Linda Perkins; our Sexton, Sue Richardson; Jo Keiller; Pat McNamara; Carol Hartman’s daughter-in-law, Michelle; Karen Jameson’s mother, Tish; Cindy Griffin’s and Susan Borchert’s uncle, Arthur; Judy Croitoru; Jim Lenz’ friend, Jim; Bob & Robyn Carpenter;  Joan Dumont; Chris Dye; Linda Perkins’ friends, Dorothy, Barbara, Albert, & Doug; Caren Saunders’ father, William Homeyer; Scot Zens; Rev. Jed ReardonAllyson Wendt, as well as her daughter, Ada Jane; Greg Marshall; Larry Burch’s brother, CharlieSusan Turner’s cousin, Buddy Stevenson, and Sue’s friends, Barbara Zenker & Jane Miles; Susan Sanzone’s aunt Rita; and Odile Clavier’s mother, Marie-Claire, as well as her niece, Amelie Marie.
 
 
Into God's Hands 
    
As gradually warming weather leads us to yearn for the new life of spring, so too have our hearts ached with the loss of dearly beloved friends and relatives of our faith community.

We grieve with incomprehension and anguish the more than 550,000 lives lost to COVID-19 in this country alone, as well as all other pandemic-related deaths throughout our world.

We extend our sympathy to Susan Sanzone-Fauver and her family, upon the loss of Susan’ father, Salvatore (Sal) Sanzone, on Monday—March 8th, 2021, as they give thanks for Sal’s 95 years of a full and exuberant life. 

Likewise are our prayers with Suzanne Lenz and her brother Bob, as they mourn the loss of Bob's wife, Suzanne's beloved sister-in-law, Rosie, on Thursday--March 11, 2021.

So too do we reach out to Dalton (Doc) Winslow, whose older brother (and fellow gifted musician!) Dr. Richard Winslow, died on Wednesday—March 17th, 2021, shortly after his 80th birthday.  

As God has welcomed each of these dearly departed ones back into the realm of God’s eternal embrace, may their families and loved ones be comforted with God’s healing presence in the midst of this time of mourning.


CELEBRATING OUR 241st BIRTHDAY!!
HONORING OUR PAST / EMBRACING OUR FUTURE
Sunday--May 2nd, 2021

Recalling that our church was founded on May 2nd, 1780, and remembering how meaningful it has been to do so these past few years, we shall once again celebrate our Annual Founders’ Day Communion Service on Sunday—May 2nd, 2021!

Since this year’s service will very likely still be on-line rather than in person, we plan to reprise last year’s virtual Birthday Celebration! We’ll have a small cake here in church with candles somehow symbolizing our 241 years, and maybe many of you will have some form of birthday cake in your own homes to share as well.  

But either way, especially in this time of missing being able to gather physically in our beautiful church, let’s have a virtual Birthday Party!, sharing and rejoicing with each other in the many gifts that we have offered and received through our connection with our “brave little church” here on the Meriden hilltop, as well as the beautiful gifts we are for each other, and in anticipation of that grand and glorious day when we shall be able to re-gather in person here in our sanctuary. Both because this Sunday also would have been the date of our annual Silent Auction fundraiser, and as a way of sharing the JOY of our church, let’s also offer generous “Birthday” gifts in support of our church’s ministry! 

We’ll send out a reminder as our church birthday celebration draws nigh, but let’s start thinking now about memories, stories, treasures, hopes, and dreams we might wish to share with each other as we gather on-line from far and near for our church’s 241st Birthday Celebration, both in thanksgiving for all that we have already been as a faith community, and likewise to envision all that our Beloved Community may yet become!  
MCC ADMINISTRATION AND FINANCE NEWS
Spring Cleaning Jubilee

Come join us on Saturday—April 24th, any time between 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM, for an Earth Day, physically distanced, spring cleaning of our church grounds!. Together, we will work in small groups to clean up and beautify our lovely church surroundings.  
 
So, bring your masks, shovels, rakes, and your sense of humor, and work and play with for as long as you can. Families and young ones are most welcome to join us. If you should have questions please give Lee Oxenham a call at 727-9368.

March 2021
The Ins and Outs of our Zoom Services

It’s been exactly a year since MCC began doing Zoom services. This amounts to almost 50 services that Rod, Evan and I have worked. I thought it might be time to give the congregation a little “peek behind the curtain” — to find out what really goes into putting on our Zoom services.

Rod is the “producer” of the show. Rod sets up the Zoom meeting that becomes our service on Saturday and distributes the parameters for it to the copastors and me. We all know that he gives a brief introduction at the beginning of the service to acquaint attendees of the “Zoom rules of the road” and handles the Koinonia and Habari Gani segments of the service. He also changes the “Spotlight” function depending on who is the current focus of the program. All three of us are always on the look-out for an “open mic” that might be disturbing (or embarrassing!) and are ready to mute any microphones that are open.

Evan is our “security guy” and spends the service scanning for any potential “Zoom bombers” that might disrupt our meeting. He is also in charge of recording the service and distributing it to the congregation.

Saturday I accumulate all the bits of music and video that will be used in the show: these may come from John, Susan, Michael, Kelsey, and/or Carol. I preview everything and do any pre-processing that is needed. This avoids any unwanted ads (most of time) and eliminates other unwanted sights and sounds from the service.

The morning of the service begins for me at 8:30 when I set up my devices at home. These consist of two computers and an iPad. I use one computer to join the meeting and to provide the “shares” during the service, one computer to remotely control the sanctuary computer, and the iPad to view the bulletin, so I can see the order of service to prepare for the next share. I remote into the sanctuary computer to make sure that link works and use that time to set up the necessary computer apps and check the internet connection, which is courtesy of KUA.

At 9:00 I go to the sanctuary and set up the cameras and microphones and at 9:15 I sign the sanctuary into the meeting, which Rod has already begun. He and I then check to make sure that all the devices in the sanctuary are working properly: video cameras pointed in the right direction, microphones set to the right levels, and speakers working.

By 9:30 or so I’m home and do any final preparations that are necessary and set up for the first shares in the program.

During the service I’m often pretty busy. I have two screens on the Zoom meeting computer and I use one for the shares and the other to monitor the service and the participants. The other computer is used to control the computer in the sanctuary and I use that access to change cameras and microphones. For instance, in order to “play a hymn” I have to sign into the sanctuary computer and change the microphone to Carol and then share the correct spot in the bulletin on my other computer. As the hymn ends I change the microphone back to the pulpit, end the share, and get ready for the next share of the service.

That’s it; if all goes well. If it doesn’t, we have to be creative on the fly. We’ve gotten better over the year and are now a “well-oiled” team. And we enjoy making the service available to anyone with a computer, tablet device, or phone.

Jim Lenz
For the Administrative and Finance Ministry

Stewardship
January 20, 2021

Dear Members & Friends of Meriden Congregational Church,

Your Leadership Team spent several hours on Saturday, January 16 “wrangling” the 2021 budget, reviewing our sources of income and our expense projections, and differences between the two. This budget will be voted on at Annual Meeting, right after Zoom worship on Sunday, February 7. Please plan to join us!
Right now, we have a “gap” between income and expenses of just under $28,000. The attached budget summary has all the numbers. But we have a plan to – hopefully – fill almost all of that “gap” with a Paycheck Protection Program infusion from the Federal Government.

On the income side ($193,565), pledges (so far) are about $8,000 lower for 2021 than for 2020, although we still have about $3,100 in pledges we have not yet heard from. Community Camp normally donates a small amount to the church budget, based on the prior year’s Camp income, but with no income in 2020 there will be no donation in 2021. The only fundraiser we can anticipate is another “Happy Birthday MCC” to replace our Silent Auction. Fortunately, investment income remains steady. A very large 2020 item was the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) grant, which provided over $24,000 to help pay MCC and Community Camp salaries for a remote version of Camp, even when “live” Camp was not held. We will apply for a second PPP infusion in 2021, and are optimistic it will be granted, but it is not certain (more below).

On the expense side ($221,470), the theme is “steady as she goes”. There are no new programs, no salary increases, but there is an assumption that we will eventually return to at least some in-person gatherings in the late Fall, and thus our building expenses, especially sexton and heating, will return to more normal levels. Community Camp is hopeful they can operate a scaled-down, physically distanced, masked in-person Camp this summer, so there will be Camp revenue to cover Camp costs, and not transfer those costs to the church budget as happened in 2020.

What are Next Steps? 
We can – and will – apply for a second infusion of Payroll Protection Program funding, likely about the same $24,000 size as last year. This was signed into law in late December, but application forms are not yet available, and approval is not guaranteed. To be eligible we must demonstrate that we had at least a 25% reduction in revenue in at least one quarter in 2020 (which we can), and then we can borrow up to 2.5 months of average payroll expense for 2019 or 2020 (our choice). PPP is initially a LOAN, but is converted to a GRANT if we spend it all on payroll (which we can do). If we get a $24,000 PPP infusion, that would reduce our “gap” to just under $4,000.  
We will not know of the outcome of our PPP application until March or perhaps April. 

If you have not yet made your pledge of MCC support for 2021, please do so soon, ideally communicated to us before Annual Meeting on February 7. Please email your pledge specifics to rwendt@meridenucc.org .

If the PPP does NOT come through – or comes through at a lesser amount – then we will have to cycle back and create some rather significant increases in our giving for 2021 or make significant reductions in our spending for 2021, or both. Getting NO PPP infusion would mean we still have a $28,000 gap to fill. We would approach you, the members and friends of MCC, to look again at your pledge, and consider an increase in your pledge or a 1-time gift if you are able. We would also have to look closely at our spending, especially our staffing, and see what additional reductions might be needed. This would likely occur in April or May, so several months of spending at the higher rate would already have happened.
Friends, we are all in this together. If 2020 showed us anything, it is that the sense of togetherness in our beloved faith community is very strong. We CAN get through the rest of this pandemic because we have each other. We CAN erase this budget “gap” because we have each other.
On behalf of your Leadership Team,

Rod Wendt
Chair, Leadership Team
REPORT OF THE ASSISTANT TREASURERS

           For two weeks in March we received $1,795 for pledges and $220 for plate donations. We have received $46,558 for pledges this year and $1,275 for plate donations. Just a reminder that the church will need a new Assistant Treasurer sometime late this year. It is fairly easy to do. If anyone is interested in assuming this position I will be glad to work with you as much as needed. 

Respectfully submitted,

Richard Atkinson
Jim Lenz




On a personal note, Sue and I intend to be moving to a retirement community in Pennsylvania with-in the next year. I will continue to serve as an Assistant Treasurer until that time. However, a replacement for my position will have to be identified before then. If you feel this is a service to the Church you could fill please consider it. I would of course work with anyone who steps forward to assume this position to ensure a seamless transition. Anyone taking this on would also have support from the other people who serve as Assistant Treasurers, Jim Lenz and Rod Wendt. There is some work that does take some time, but on a week to week basis it is not too time consuming. 

Richard Atkinson
COVID-19 Task Force Notice for MARCH 2021

The COVID-19 Task Force and the MCC Camp Ministry Team met via joint Zoom on Sunday afternoon, February 21st.  

We shared an overview of the Camp Ministry team's hope to open the Meriden Community Camps for limited campers and staff in 2021. Activities would be held in three small, strictly defined camper cohorts of 10 children each. The Camp team hopes to use procedures that have worked throughout the past year with local elementary schools in Plainfield and Cornish. Though the KUA students are older, some KUA protocols, policies and procedures may be applicable as well.  A list of procedures and practices from the Montshire Museum is also under review.  

--At this time the Camp expects to develop Codes of Conduct and printed Expectations for campers, parents/families and counselors/staff. Travel outside immediate states may require a quarantine period before participating in the camp by each of the preceding three groups.

--Many simple cleaning and personal sanitation activities can be performed by the individual campers, using "kid-friendly" disinfectants.  Having campers familiar with "schoolroom" practices may dictate that campers will be limited to those with COVID classroom experience --post-kindergarten campers through age 12.   

--Sanitation procedures for indoor restrooms, hallways and common areas are to be developed.

--The possible use of outdoor canopies or tents for each of the three cohorts during the seven weeks or so of the camp is being explored. This would reduce dependency on indoor facilities and could lessen indoor cleaning requirements.  

-- Procedures for children who may become ill during the day will probably parallel those used in the local elementary schools.

--CDC guidelines for summer residential camps and day camps will be reviewed for any recent updates.

--Our liability insurance through MCC/NHCUCC does NOT offer coverage to the church or camp relative to COVID infections. This is unchanged from last year.

Over the next several months the COVID-19 TF will prioritize our consultations with the Camp Ministry team so that they can make timely decisions about offering the camp to children and parents in the local community. At this time our stated goal is to facilitate the opening of a limited camp in the safest manner possible. This will be based on the positive experiences of local communities and schools. Elected church leadership will make a final determination after consulting with both teams.

Although not discussed at this meeting, the COVID-19 Task Force hopes that in-person, outdoor Sunday worship will be possible beginning later this spring.

Ed Cousineau, Convener
COVID-19 Task Force



WELCOMING and CARING MINISTRY


This Easter the plan is to bring back one part of our celebration. No we won't have an Easter Breakfast. No, we won't have in person church. But Yes we will have a masked and distanced Sunrise Service for those willing to get up before dawn. Will there by snow on the hill? Not if the melting continues as it has in the past week!!! By April 4th, Easter, we plan to gather together and pray for the coming year and for ourselves and the wounded earth. We will find the joy that has been hidden in this year of waiting.

The challenging news is that our Welcoming and Caring Ministry of Coffee Hour, Ushering and Potlucks have been put on hold indefinitely by the Corona Virus visiting our state. Since Sunday March 15 we have been meeting remotely by way of Zoom technology. There have been three in person meetings on the Green in front of the Church which have been enthusiastically attended. There has not been any Midweek Coffee gathering on Wednesday morning at 10:00am. There have been phone calls and cards sent by our Caregiving committee. If you would like to be on the list of people being called reach out to us at 603-469-3234.

Call 603-469-3235 if you would like to be notified of Worship and given the log in number. I am thankful of the opportunity of meeting people online even as I miss seeing people in person. Hoping that you and your family are getting all the help and food that you need. Please contact me at kathywright@myfairpoint.net if you need anything!!

Kathy Wright, Coordinator for Welcoming and Caring Ministry



APRIL BIRTHDAYS


 
4/1        Beckett Eastman
4/2        Marcia Copperswaite
4/2         John Yacavone
4/2         Cindy LaFlam
4/2         Taylor Williams
4/6         Jed Wilbur
4/6         Zoey Houde-Crane
4/7         Natalie Ruppertsberger
4/7         Reed Brozen
4/7        Virginia Sraeel
4/11       Graham Brooks
4/12       Bryden Nugent
4/13       Noah Herfort
4/13       Rodney Wendt
4/13       Warren Calderone
4/15       Bobby Annis
4/15       Johanna Schafer
4/16       Harold Clark
4/17       David Carver
4/17      Yesenia Araya
4/17       Bob Bucklin
4/18       Betty Pardoe
4/19      Alexandra Parsons
4/20       Mike Schafer
4/20       David Sneiderman
 
 
 





 4/20      Michelle Sneiderman
4/21       Elaine Lenz
4/21      Caitlyn Howell
4/22     Andile Muhlauri
4/22       Betsy Beck
4/22      Carter Williams
4/23       Austin James Currier
4/24       Lisa Elder
4/24       Macsen Elkouh
4/24      Hunter Townsend
4/25       Jasmine Hardy
4/25       Jan Timmons
4/25       Lindsay Anikis
4/25       Becky Luce
4/26       Christina Robinson
4/26       Susan Yacavone
4/27       Deborah Chapman
4/27       Kaylee Rogers
4/28       Ursula Herfort
4/29      Karyn Swett
4/30       Alyssa Reetz
4/30       Svia Araya Russman
APRIL ANNIVERSARIES


4/8     Shawn and Robert Phelps
4/15   Andrea and Brandon Feid
4/20   David and Michelle Sneiderman
4/20   Bob and Carla Bucklin
4/21   Carol and Mike Hartman
4/25   Susan and John Yacavone


Coffee & Cocoa products are featured from Equal Exchange! Please contact Shideko Terai if you would like to order Coffee, Decaf, Hot Chocolate or Chocolate Bars. These products are delicious and promise a reasonable return for the growers and farmers who produce them! K-CUPS are also available!
Cool weather! Fine chocolate. Or hot chocolate anyone?

Shideko's e-mail is mary.n.boyle@gmail.com.
Shideko Terai, Coordinator of Outreach, Peace and Justice Ministry

One Great Hour of Sharing Water Challenge

           Are you going to join me in the One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) challenge? The theme this year is clean water. I challenged everyone during church last week to engage in a challenge. For the month of April I am going to set aside a small amount of money every time I use water. The system I am going to use is nickel, dime or quarter. Small amounts of water, such as washing hands or a drink of water will cost me a nickel. Larger amounts, such as cooking, washing dishes or flushing a toilet will cost a dime. A large amount of water, such as laundry or showering will cost a quarter. If children want to participate they may want to do a smaller amount, say a penny or nickel. Anything collected at the end of April will be our Church’s donation for OGHS. I am challenging everyone to join with me. Let’s set a record for this Church’s donation to OGHS.

Richard Atkinson
Card-Writing
to Prisoners of Conscience
and Defenders of Human Rights
 
Many of us have appreciated through the past few years the invitation shared with us by Marianna McKim and Reinhart Sonnenburg to share in Amnesty International's global Write-for-Rights action.  . Our cards give these prisoners of conscience a powerful sense of hope during their imprisonment. The attention the cards bring to their plights frequently results in better treatment for prisoners and, in many cases, their release.

To encourage us to share in this "Love in Action" again this year, Marianna and Reinhart have offered to provide cards and international postage stamps if needed - just let them know (mcksonn@gmail.com). Donations of the same are also welcome (cheerful, pretty cards with NO holiday or religious theme). Here is the link to the case summaries and guidelines (Urgent actions | Amnesty International UK),   and Reinhart & Marianna would be happy to modify some of the information to make it appropriate for children of different ages, as desired.  Please note that it’s also possible to do this by e-mail as well, should that prove to be more amenable in these challenging times.  Either way, they would love to include any cards that are sent in the Upper Valley Amnesty International group tally , so please let them know if you send any. If you have questions, feel free to contact Reinhart or Marianna at mcksonn@gmail.com or 603-469-3999. 
Meriden Congregational Church to Sponsor “Just Peace Between Palestine and Israel” resolution at UCC General Synod, July, 2021

On December 29, 2020, your Leadership Team unanimously voted to become a sponsor to bring a resolution “Declaration for a Just Peace Between Palestine and Israel” developed by the UCC Palestine Israel Network, to be considered by the UCC General Synod meeting in July, 2021.

Resolutions submitted to the UCC General Synod for consideration require sponsorship of at least six UCC congregations across the country. Sponsorships must be in place by the January 2, 2021 deadline for submitting the resolution. Because the opportunity to become a sponsor was not brought to us until early December, quick reflection was required on our part. Your Leadership Team considered whether or not to become a sponsor in our December 5 meeting, and again in special meetings on December 28 and 29. We were joined in our December 28 meeting by Rev. John Thomas, a key player in the UCC Palestine Israel Network that drafted the resolution, and former General Minister & President of the United Church of Christ nationally. His input was very helpful in getting your Leadership Team to “yes” the following night.

Being a “sponsor” does not mean we agree with every word of the resolution, or that we are experts on the issue – by no means. Rather, it means we believe this issue is important enough, and urgent enough, to warrant consideration and robust discussion at the General Synod meeting in July, 2021. It also does not mean we will attend the General Synod meeting (our NH delegation will represent us as it always does). It does mean we are committing to learn more about the issue between now and General Synod, and much of your Leadership Team’s discussion on December 29 was how to do that. Stay tuned!

A copy of the resolution is available here if you wish to delve into it. Essentially, it decries actions of the government of Israel in oppressing Palestinians in many ways, and actions by the United States in supporting the government of Israel in that oppression. It decries the United States for declaring anything challenging Israeli policies or actions to be antisemitic, and for limiting freedom of speech in support of Palestine and Palestinians on college campuses. It affirms the rights of the Palestinian people, rejects new Israeli laws that enshrine one type of person in a privileged position over another, and rejects ideologies that claim one group’s divine right to the land at the exclusion of others. It further asks that UCC churches commit to hearing the voices of Palestinians, learn about the history and dynamics of this complex issue, and advocate for restoration of US funding to the UN and decrease of US funding to Israel until Palestinian rights are restored.

While not specifically in the resolution, we hope that we Christians, and specifically we UCC Christians, will find common cause with people of all faith traditions in the Middle East, who, like us, seek a fair and just peace for both Palestine and Israel. This is about governments – Israel and the United States – acting badly and oppressing the rights of the Palestinian people of all faith traditions. All faith traditions must call it out for the injustice it is!

We will keep you apprised as we move closer toward the UCC General Synod meeting in July, 2021. Thanks! Rod
   In the spirit of our church’s continuing growth in antiracist understanding and commitment, our Racial Justice Ministry Team encourages viewing the informative and challenging webinar offered by our UCC Racial Justice Minister, the Rev. Dr. Velda Love, entitled, "White Nationalism, Contemporary Racism, and the Christian Church." The link to this webinar may be found on our Conference website: nhcucc.org. So too do we commend the reading and discussion of Martin Luther King's seminal "Breaking the Silence" sermon at Riverside Church exactly one year before his assasination on what is Easter Sunday this year.



Racial Justice Book Study Concludes on Sunday evening, April 11th

Even if you have not been attending our study sessions thus far, if you have been reading How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi, please do feel free to join us for our final zoom study session on Sunday evening--April 11th @ 7:00 PM. Simply e-mail Rod Wendt at rwendt@meridenucc.org to receive the zoom link. And stay tuned for notice of our next racial justice book study.


“Raising White Kids:
Bringing up Children in a Racially Unjust America”
by Jennifer Harvey

Our book study on this deeply engaging and informative book for parents and guardians, care- givers, teachers and adults who care for and interact with white children
has concluded. But by way of continuing to offer each other encouragement and support in our efforts to be more intentionally antiracist ourselves and to nurture antiracism among our young ones, we agreed to continue meeting once a month.

Thus, our next meeting is on Tuesday--April 6th @ 7:30 PM, and everyone is enthusiastically welcome to join us, even if not having been to any of our previous sessions. Please contact Susan Gregory-Davis (469-3235 or susan@meridenucc.org) if interested. We would love to hear from you and and together discern how most effectively to support the healthy racial development of white children, children who--in the words of author Harvey--are “comfortable in their own skin but function appropriately in racially diverse environments; neither ignoring nor pretending not to notice the racial identities of others and not making assumptions about people based on their race; and having strong moral commitments to interrupt and challenge racism when they witness it.”
Steve Beaupre' faithfully rings our church bell
each Wednesday afternoon at 5:00 PM as a clarion call to
our Community BLACK LIVES MATTER Vigil
Thank you, Steve!!
 With protests happening throughout our nation in response to the continuing "lynching" of Black and Brown bodies, we are continuing our Showing Up for Racial Justice BLACK LIVES MATTER Vigils each Wednesday afternoon, now happening from 5:00 to 5:30PM, on the SouthWest corner of the intersection of Rte 120 & Main Street (at the blinking yellow light, with parking available at Poor Thom's Tavern). We have “BLACK LIVES MATTER” signs available for folk to hold, but please feel free to make and/or bring your own signs.

Come join us in “showing up for racial justice,” and Standing for  LOVE , and AGAINST racism, white supremacy, hatred, and violence, here in our community and beyond!  Togetherlet us publicly declare that we will NOT be complicit in white terrorand let us call our friends and neighbors to rise up with us in our resolute affirmation of the inherent and sacred value of us all within Beloved Community


Civil Rights and Worker Rights are Interconnected!
Spend an Hour at 6:30 p.m. on Monday April 5 to Learn More
By Gail Kinney Worker Justice Minister
 
The MCC Worker Justice Ministry encourages all who read this to join a one hour Zoom event, All Labor Has Dignity, on Monday April 5 at 6:30 p.m., with University of Washington Professor and Human Rights, Worker Rights and Martin Luther King Jr. scholar Michael Honey to celebrate Rev. Dr. King and learn about the interconnectedness of civil rights and labor rights, particularly within Dr. King’s transformational ministry – and in the efforts of those who strive to follow in his footsteps. In this hour, we’ll also hear more about Dr. King’s keen recognition of so-called “right to work” laws as a destructive force and a fraud designed solely to rob workers of an effective collective voice. Register via https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_6CPNX1BsRWWXPalCn2vMzQ 
Currently, well-funded, out-of-state, anti-union forces continue to promote such worker-dividing “right to work” policies across the land which are not at all about providing work for anyone. New Hampshire is now in the crosshairs of these forces. The NH Council of Churches and religious leaders have spoken out, supported by our own NH UCC Conference Minister, and have decried such efforts. See Testimony on SB61 on the “Right to Work Act” – New Hampshire Council of Churches (nhchurches.org) and http://indepthnh.org/2021/03/29/opinion-faith-leaders-call-right-to-work-proposal-immoral/ 

At the national religious level, Protestant, Catholic and Jewish leaders have all spoken likewise, guided by shared moral principles regarding the dignity of all work and the importance of the voice of all workers. Further, Dartmouth Professor Marc Dixon, who has studied these laws from past to present, observes, “Why target unions now? Consistent across both periods, however different, is that Right-to-Work has been an important tool for organized business. It is a clear way to defund and destabilize a political opponent.” Such a cynical and divisive tool certainly flies in the face of our moral values!    
Exercising Your Voice in the NH Legislature:
A “How To” Guide

LEARN: How do I know what’s happening?
The Legislature is generally in session from January-June. Legislative hearings likely will not occur after early to mid-May. Typically a House Calendar and Senate Calendar come out on Thursday evening and indicate what’s coming up (hearings on bills and more) in the coming week and beyond.

You can find the House Calendar here: http://gencourt.state.nh.us/house/caljourns/default.aspx

Also (and perhaps easier), those concerned about particular justice issues should stay tuned to NH legislative alerts from state advocacy groups that are following the matter of interest. And for a comprehensive report on various justice and democracy issues, subscribe to the American Friends Service Committee’s indispensable State House Watch e-newsletter that typically hits your email in-box on Friday evenings or over the weekend. State House Watch covers bills related to housing, the death penalty, immigration, labor rights, the state budget and tax system, voting rights, corrections policy, and more. These informative alerts usually include Committee names, bill numbers and hearing times. HB means House Bill and SB means Senate Bill. Here’s the link to subscribe to the AFSC’s

LISTEN: How do I “Attend”/Monitor a Hearing?
If you look at the most current House or Senate Calendar for the specific hearing in which you are interested, you will find the link to “attend” or listen to that hearing. (See the Calendar links above.)

TAKE ACTION: How do I exercise my voice on a pending bill during a Hearing?
To sign into a House or Senate hearing either to indicate your support for or opposition to any bill, you will need to know the Hearing Date, the Committee Name, and the Bill Number. Then use either the House link or the Senate link (below) and follow the easy prompts. It is here that you can designate your position on a bill and/or if you would like to testify on a bill. Even if you have no interest in testifying, noting your support or opposition is really valuable. Be sure to do this “sign-in” in advance of the hearing on the bill. As soon as a bill is listed in the calendar, you can record your position or sign up to testify.



Added Notes:  If you’re listening to a hearing and suddenly feel compelled to testify but haven’t signed up in advance, at the end of the hearing the Committee Chair will (or should!) ask if anyone else would like to testify. If you raise your hand via the Zoom icon, he/she should call on you.
You can also submit written testimony on a bill (ideally PRIOR to a hearing). In the House, you can go to the Committee list (http://gencourt.state.nh.us/house/committees/standingcommittees.aspx), click on the Committee you want, and, at top, you will see on the Committee page a link to “Email All Committee Members.” In the Senate, click on the Committee list (http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/senate/committees/Senate_Committees.aspx), and in this listing of individual committees you will see a link to “Email Entire Committee” below the names of the each Committee’s Chair and Vice Chair. You should, of course, feel free to contact your own Representative(s) or Senator at any time to share your public policy views or concerns.

Lift every voice for humane public policy!
Legislator Contact Information
 FEDERAL
                                                                                 Rep. Annie McLane Kuster
137 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: 202-225-5206 (Washington)
18 North Main Street, Fourth Floor
Concord, NH 03301
Phone: 603-226-1002 (New Hampshire)

Sen. Maggie Hassan
330 Hart Senate Office Building  .
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-3324 (Washington
1200 Elm St. Suite 6
Manchester, NH 03101
Phone: 603-662-2204 (New Hampshire)

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen
506 Hart Senate Office Bdg
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-2841 (Washington)
2 Wall St #220
Manchester, NH 03101
Phone: 602-647-7500 (NH)
STATE

Rep. Lee Walker Oxenham
92 Methodist Hill Road
Plainfield, NH 03781-5415
Phone: 603-727-9368

Rep. Brian Sullivan
642 Olde Farms Road
Grantham, NH 03753-3124
PHONE 603-381-7889


Rep. Linda Tanner
PO Box 267
Georges Mills, NH 03751-0267
Phone: 603-763-4471

Sen. Suzanne Prentiss
Legislative Office Building, Room 102
33 State Street
Concord, NH 03301
Phone: 603-271-3092
Climate Justice Ministry News –

In April 2020 the congregation of the Meriden Congregational Church approved the Meriden Congregational Church Resolution Endorsing the Green New Deal. With the election of President Biden and his stated intention to provide an economic stimulus package to the nation, the leadership of MCC has sent a letter to Congresswoman Kuster, Senator Shaheen and Senator Hassan urging them to include in any stimulus package specific projects that support the goals of the Green New Deal. This is letter is consistent with one of the commitments in our resolution to “engage federal, state and local agencies as advocates for policies and legislation that advance the goals of the Green New Deal”. We are hopeful that our concerns will be heeded.

The various justice ministries of MCC, including climate, economic, immigrant and racial are cooperating in a joint justice ministry. We began this cooperation at the end of 2020 with an initial focus on providing reading lists and presenting “justice moments” during one service each month. 

For those interested in climate justice the book “Climate Justice” by Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and UN Special Envoy on Climate Change is an excellent introduction to the topic. The book is available on Amazon and will be available from the Plainfield library. If you are interested in reading the book let me know and I can ask Mary King to request copies.

Submitted
Evan Oxenham
Immigrant Solidarity
There are many ways to connect with these advocacy groups working for Immigrant Justice. Meriden Congregational Church is a member of NH Immigrant Solidarity Network or NHISN, GSOP, and UVISN. 
~~~
I attend a Granite State Organizing Project or GSOP check-in on Fridays at 1 PM. We hear about the work being accomplished with regard to supporting the unhoused, the hungry, and legislative issues concerning NH immigrants that come up by way of bills.

Federal Legislation:
Tell your Congress members to cosponsor and support the Raise the Wage looking to increase the minimum wage from $7.25/hr to $15/hr by 2025. https://p2a.co/twqvGwH 

If you have any questions, please contact Viola Katusiime. Email Violakat@granitestateorganizing.org Phone office: 603-668-8250 and ask for Viola.

~~~
I attended the United Valley Immigrant Solidarity Network (UVISN) Core Team meeting on Feb. 25. We discussed the local organization, SHARE, which is looking for a pool of people and organizations to help asylum seekers. There will be an upcoming opening event to introduce this effort. In addition, I reported on the meeting in which I asked Sen. Hassan’s team to explain her vote in favor of the Young Amendment, an amendment on the COVID Relief Package which in Eva Castillo’s words:
 
“that would have made it possible to exclude even more mixed-status families from receiving stimulus relief. This would have essentially imposed a “marriage penalty” or “family penalty” on U.S. citizens, punishing them for who they are married to or who their parents are.

While the amendment was quickly overturned as a result of an effort spearheaded by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, the shock remains that Sen. Hassan, along with seven other Democratic senators, voted to deny millions of Americans, including children, the relief they so desperately need to make ends meet during this crisis.”



From American Friends Service Committee (AFSC): 
Individuals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, and Cameroon are being held at the Alexandria Staging Facility in Louisiana and are reportedly scheduled for deportation this week. We understand that some of these individuals have pending motions to reopen their cases before the Board of Immigration Appeals or petitions for review before
a circuit court, while others claim that they were not afforded the opportunity for a credible fear interview for asylum in a language they understand.  We are urging you to take action now to stop these deportations: 

Call: The White House (202-456-1111), DHS (202-282-8495), Speaker Pelosi (202-225-4965), Majority leader Schumer (202-224- 6542)  
Demand: Ask them to Stop deportations, expulsions, transfers and ground ICE air related flights
during this global health crisis. 
Sample Script: Hello, I am calling to demand that you stop the mass deportations of people from Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola and Haiti. ICE transfers, deportations
and expulsion flights spread COVID19 and put everyone at risk. You have the authority to stop all deportations now. I also urge you to halt all Title 42 expulsions, transfers and ground all ICE Air related flights during this global health crisis. President Biden must not return families, individuals and children to countries experiencing violence and political instability in which their lives are endangered. 

Tweet: @POTUS @FLOTUS @VP @DHSGov @SpeakerPelosi @SenSchumer @BennieGThompson @AOC @REpPressley @Ilhan @JoaquinCastrotx @RitchieTorres @RepKarenBass @RepJayapal 
Sample Tweets:  
Hundreds of Black immigrants fled human rights abuses, violence, and political persecution. They are now at risk of being returned to unsafe countries. @[Congressional leader], will you demand @ICEgov stop these deportations? 
[Handle @Congressman/Senator] don’t stand by as ICE detains + deports Black asylum seekers! Urge @ICEGov to release them to their families and communities in the U.S. #FreeThemAll 
Detention is a death sentence. Deportation is a death sentence. @ICEgov, the only humane and responsible solution is to #FreeThemAll. @[elected official] stop the deportation of Black immigrants now. 

Shideko Terai (she/her), Outreach, Peace & Justice Coordinator
In honor of the #DefundHate campaign,
Rev. Maren Tirabassi wrote this poem:

It costs money – to tear children from their parents.
It costs money – to put people in unsanitary jails,
and in detention centers where so many die.

More than anything,
it costs our nation the abundant gifts of the future
which could be given
in art and music and science,
 in medical care and poetry,
 in food and dance,
 to all our communities by those who come here
from around the world.

Hate is expensive –
be fiscally responsible, Congress,
Choose love!

Please call upon Congress to defund the billions Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CPB) receive every year to jail, abuse and deport immigrants.

As this new year begins,I hope we can acknowledge some blessings of 2020. Covid-19 has shone a bright light on the inequities that have surrounded us for decades. Our country is hungry. Millions of our people are still without healthcare. There are many unhoused and soon to be unhoused people. The COVID-19 pandemic showed us our inhumane prisons and immigration policies. We have a lot of work to do. The work that we must do was begun by Rosa Parks, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Shirley Chisholm, and Fannie Lou Hamer. Rosa Parks had the strength to sit down, so that I might stand. Sojourner Truth fought for women's rights so my voice would be heard. Harriet Tubman freed the enslaved so I might be liberated. Shirley Chisholm showed all the little Black girls (and Brown women like me) we could be anything we wanted to be. Even when people thought we were second class citizens. However, Fannie Lou Hamer showed us with grit and determination we could win if we organized. I feel their fear and anger. I cannot imagine running for my life across fields to freedom. Yet having the strength to return again and again to liberate others.

Now, imagine you are one of several ordinary, everyday men and women sitting in church basements, around kitchen tables and meeting on your college campuses. After being trained, you would sit at lunch counters, get on Freedom Buses (to register Black voters in the South) and cross the Edmund Pettus bridge. Each knew they would be beaten up and some would not be returning home. They still sat, rode the bus, and crossed the bridge.

 “And we won’t be silent anymore!”

There are some among us that believe that we should lay-low until the present danger is distanced again; I say we cannot back down. Yes, these are scary, unstable times that we are living through, and we cannot back down. We have got to fight for justice, equity and freedom anyway. Remember, the STRENGTH that flowed in the veins of those who have gone before us.
 
 Forward Together!

Thanks!
In solidarity and peace,
Shideko (she/her)
The UVHS & The Plainfield Community Resource Room have teamed up to help all Cat & Dog Owners in our area.
Every Month on the 3rd Saturday
when the Resource Room & Food Pantry is open
the UVHS will be present to provide  
FREE Cat & Dog Food.
For more information
please contact Stephanie at 469-3201.